Many experienced tiers are aware that using a smaller diameter thread will yield
neater looking heads on their flies.
Most of the rest of us however are afraid of the smaller diameter threads as they are
thought to be far too fragile for those of us with a heavier hand.
Thread is commonly available in 3/0, 6/0, 8/0, 12/0 and as fine as 16/0. Then there are
the Flymaster and other heavier, "special purpose" type threads. Special purpose
denoting other than for general use in tying flies.
New tiers frequently start off using 3/0 thread. It is strong, durable and generally behaves
well in the hands of the in-experienced. It is great for larger flies as well.
6/0 is a step up in producing a quality fly in smaller sizes, such as we commonly employ
for trout fishing. It also has applications on larger flies, where more wraps with less bulk
If you have made the step up to 8/0 thread, you have gone to the front of the class, but
you still are not quite at its' head. You have one more step to go.
In tying smaller flies, especially in tying them for trout, you will get a better quality product
using 12/0 thread for your tying. Most catalogues will offer this finer diameter thread in many
of the colors in which larger diameters are available.
The smaller diameter of the thread is a benefit to anyone desiring to tie a neat, proportional
head on a small fly. You can more precisely add a bit of volume here or there, as the head
equires. Unlike a 3/0 thread where one wrap less may not be enough, and one wrap more
may be too much! The same can be said about 6/0 and 8/0 threads, but there is another
argument in favor of the smaller sizes.
You can make about three wraps with a 12/0 thread where one could be made with a 3/0.
Now you can pull your thread tight, but this will not significantly increase the security
of the materials on the hook. Taking three wraps is building bulk in the fly, and in the
smaller sizes looks out of 'scale', you can see the individual wraps.
On the other hand the 12/0 thread will allow you to take more turns of thread for the same
amount of bulk added. And wraps, boys and girls, are what secure materials firmly to the
hook. Tightening fewer turns of thread will never equal the strength of more wraps even
though the individual thread diameter is much, much thinner.
Is 12/0 thread easy to tie with? Heck no! But, the effort in learning to work with it will be
rewarded with a greater sense of pride in some of the neatest flies you have ever tied.
Start working toward the 12/0 size by using 6/0 in place of 3/0, 8/0 in place of 6/0 etc.
You will be very glad you did.
Over the next year, you will be using more and more 12/0 thread. Your flies will look better,
and surprise, surprise, you will be amazed at just how strong that skinny little thread has
become in that short space of time.
If you have any tips or techniques, send them along, most of this
material has been stolen from somebody, might as well steal your ideas
too!~ George E. Emanuel
(Chat Room Host Muddler)